Tuesday, January 01, 2013
Does that sound inspiring? For 2013? Maybe not.
But: what I'm doing is working for me.
No spectacular "successes", but no dismal failures either. Tracking, exercising, staying within a reasonable weight range, accepting the ups and downs and doubling down on the ups until they're downs. . Feeling healthy, fit, happy most of the time, able to cope with the ordinary vicissitudes of life with more or less grace.
This is not about a destination. This is for me a life-long journey. So it's more of the same but recognizing that the scenery changes along the way, And I notice the changes of scenery, yes I do. One of the great pleasures of my life.
Yesterday, a male gold finch in winter plumage at my kitchen window feeder. Not six feet away. Cautiously keeping the feeder between me and him, just sticking his head around from time to time. And singing loudly! Letting me know: seed appreciated, thank you!! Message noted.
My fragrant bouquet of white carnations on the table, with pine boughs . . . and just beyond the gold finch, a pine tree heaped with sparkling white snow.
So more of the same also means paying attention to the freshness and the variety and the uniqueness and the peaceful sameness too of all that matters.
That paying attention happens best for me when I'm healthy and fit and strong. I know that is so from all of the times when I haven't been healthy and fit and strong. I notice it and appreciate it and cherish it.
So: more of the same, please. More of the same. And I'll keep doing all I can to remain healthy and fit and strong. And paying attention.
Monday, December 31, 2012
On "turkey feast days", I am the laziest possible cook -- and blogged about it proudly way back in October 2009. All about faking it, using as much "prefab" as possible with a few additions to make it "mine": the rock solid frozen prestuffed turkey, the canned gravy with a shot of sherry, the mashed potatoes in the sous-vide bag with a little chopped parsley, the frozen pie partially defrosted so the crust can be crimped with my very own thumbprints! In fact I believe "prefab" results in "less flab" . . . because prefab means fewer opportunities to snack and nibble!
However, as the "soup meister" supremo (a fresh pot every week, the centrepiece of my suppers every evening . . . ) I'm prepared to take quite a bit of trouble with the bones! And gotta say, love turkey soup even better than roast turkey with all the trimmings.
It's a two day project -- but it really begins right after Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.
While dinner is being served, I've got the first load of prep dishes running through the dishwasher. That gives me a pretty clean kitchen for the next round of the operations.
And right after dessert (this year, glorious key lime pie decorated with kiwi and raspberries, enjoyed every crumb) I'm tackling the turkey.
First, I slice and chunk all the meat off the bones and put it in ziplock bags in the freezer with the other leftovers. That stops me snacking -- and creates easy meals for DH who can eat an infinite number of turkey dinners (leftover rice/potatoes/stuffing/gravy/cranberries/ veggies) over the next number of days.
Then I bag up all the bones and skin from the turkey and freeze that too until I'm ready to make soup.
Yesterday, out of the freezer came the bones bag!
The bones went into one of my big soup pots frozen solid with just enough water barely to cover, plus the following: five or six baby carrots, a handful of celery leaves, a large clove of garlic, some chopped onion, about a quarter cup of peppercorns, maybe a tablespoon of dried sage.
And: some balsamic vinegar (helps draw all the calcium out of the bones) plus a shot of soya sauce (we want a rich brown colour).
As the pot came to the boil and the bones defrosted, , I used the potato masher to get everything submerged. I turned the heat down to a bare simmer for about 2 hours and went about my business. It smelled glorious!!
And when everything was simmered satisfactorily, I strained the broth through a colander into a second clean soup pot and put it in the fridge.
Then: I cooled the bones slightly and very carefully cut off all the juicy bits of meat and set those aside, discarding the skin/gristle/cooked veggies (Charlie enjoyed some of this, but of course completely bone free since turkey bones can splinter and cause problems for dogs). I refrigerated the chopped turkey meat separately.
This morning I had about half a potful of rich and flavourful turkey broth, chilled. It was a concentrated jelly-like aspic. If there had been fat on the surface (and there wasn't any, really) I could have easily removed it.
I brought the broth to a boil again and decided on a simple turkey noodle soup. I added some fresh chopped celery. Some whole wheat spaghetti noodles, broken into 1" lengths. A whole whack of vegetables: green beans, carrots, corn, peas (frozen is great for this). The turkey meat, of course. And adjusted the seasonings: some red pepper flakes, some rosemary, a little sea salt, more sage and thyme. Decided on a can of romano beans, well drained, for additional protein. Enough water, added from time to time, to fill the pot.
(It could have been turkey mushroom barley; or turkey brown rice; or turkey and potatoes: but it was definitely going to involve lots and lots of vegetables!)
Mmmmmmmmmmmmm! Gonna be delicious, after my cross-country ski coming right up!!
Sunday, December 30, 2012
. . . (which I really shouldn't attempt much any more) has to be cross country skiing!
Skiing is so much easier on the hips and knees: just like the elliptical cross trainer instead of the treadmill or track. Which I do still use from time to time, cautiously and with Pace technique (short stride, rapid cadence, mid foot landing).
But: my cautious running is mostly indoors now. And cross country skiing gets me outdoors! Like running did, all those years when I foolishly clocked 10 km a day on the roads and trails, hitting hard on the heels, without strength training to stabilize the core and joints . . . sigh.
Yesterday the sky was a pale soft grey. The snow was powdery, deep. The wax was perfect: no slip, lots of grip, but absolute ease of glide. A few friendly chickadees. And my favourite sound: whoosh, whoosh, whoosh. Love the flick of the pole forward, the kick and the pull. What a workout!
Today the sky is bright blue and everything is sparkling. It's colder: I'll need my neck gaiter pulled up over my chin and lots of lip balm. And sunglasses!
Winter can be terrific. I'm loving it!
Wednesday, December 26, 2012
BOOKAPHILE has a terrific blog post today on the "Problems of Abundance". It's a seasonal issue, that's for sure -- especially when the dessert table is loaded with options!
As my comment on BOOKAPHILE's blog confesses, I did participate in conventional
abundance yesterday -- enjoying my daughter's wonderful spicy smashed potatoes, a fabulous key lime pie brought along by my brother-in-law. A full serving of Christmas dinner. But with some moderation.
Because even for one day, I can't eat without any restraint. Mostly because it's not the immediate calories that are gonna cause me problems -- it's the triggering effect of excessive indulgence going forward.
My leftovers are in the freezer, including all of the raspberry pie I had planned to serve myself. And yeah, it may be that some portion of leftovers will end up in the waste disposal eventually.
But not on my waist: not happening.
So: does that mean absence of holiday joy? Excluding myself from abundance?
No. No. No.
BOOKAPHILE's blog made me recall a hilarious conversation I had with my wonderful hairdresser at my last haircut just before Christmas.
Hair guy is an amazing person who also teaches in the local college aesthetics program, He mentioned to me that he'd set a semester exam using the word "abundance" and one of his students objected strenuously: she had never heard the term before. I suggested to him that maybe for his purposes the definition of "abundance" could involve knotting the hair on top of the head and shimmying the hips . . . yeah!
How sad is that -- to be adult-age and so vocab-challenged as to be unfamiliar with "abundance".
Which reminded me (and I need this reminder continuously) that I'm vocab-challenged myself when it comes to my own definition of abundance. Because to maintain weight loss I've gotta challenge my own persistent association of "abundance" with food, food and more food.
Food only. So if I can't eat whatever I wanna eat I'm deprived. Excluded from abundance. Adam and Eve exiled from Paradise!! Wahhhhhhhhh!!
So long as I persist in that association of abundance as "food only", I'll be at danger for lapsing in my maintenance goals.
To succeed in maintaining weight loss, I've gotta search out and consciously engage with the abundance of pleasure that life has perpetually on offer for me. I have to find different non-food ways of enjoying abundance. Notice them. Savour them.
Because the human experience of abundance IS key to contentment, that's for sure!
And I have to remind myself: even if I think it will, overeating doesn't result in contentment.
Just temporary excess content in my stomach. And permanent excess weight in my jeans!
Thursday, December 20, 2012
*leaning in the fridge and surveying the possibilities*
*opening the cupboard and poking around*
*looking at the menu*
*checking out the banquet table*
"What do I wanna eat?" is never a good question for me.
I wanna eat cheese. With buttered bread. Crusty hot white baguette, preferably. Potato chips (none in my cupboard, of course). Dip. Cookies. Or granola bars if that's all there is, And that's all there is. There. At my house.
Hmm. There is frozen pizza. I could do that. Yeah.
Handfuls of nuts? Yeah!! Spoonfuls of peanut butter? Why not. While the pizza heats up. Sure.
If I'm at a restaurant (where I was planning on a salad till I pick up the menu: that changes everything of course) what happens when I ask myself . . . What do I wanna eat? French fries? Always. Fat juicy cheeseburger? Of course. Large Coke!!
OK then, special occasion banquet table. What do I wanna eat? Deep fried everything, natch. And let's check out the desserts. Chocolate cheesecake looks great. And the hot fudge chocolate brownie sundae. And the chocolate mousse . . . gotta theme going on here. They're all sitting there. Why not one of each? To "share", of course. Or . . . maybe not. Just this once.
Gotta face facts. I wanna eat all of 'em.
In unlimited quantities, basically. Every day.
So "What do I wanna eat" isn't the question if the answer I'm looking for is . . . a healthy, fit and slim body.
What would be the right question? It's gotta be, " What do I need to eat?"
Food is fuel. Yes it is.
If I'm asking the right question, the Spark nutrition tracker is very helpful. That's because the nutrition tracker isn't just counting calories. It's counting carbs, fats and proteins. Mine is also set to track a whole whack of other nutrients: minerals and vitamins and fibre and . . . yeah.
So if it's suppertime and I've still got 400 calories to "spend" . . . what do I need? More protein? Probably. And calcium too? A little vitamin C still missing? Yup. So what to choose? If I ask myself, "What do I need to eat?", then the answer would be, maybe, some fat free Greek yogourt? Some fresh raspberries?
How self-depriving is that? Taking all the fun out of life. *big pout*
OK. News flash. Asking myself what I need instead of what I want is NOT self-depriving at all.
Remarkably enough, what tastes best is what my body needs. Maybe I don't believe it, not in the moment, when the cheesecake is screaming at me. But 20 minutes from now, if I eat the cheesecake I won't feel so good. Might still not be feeling so good tomorrow, even.
But if I eat the yogourt and raspberries: I will feel good. And does anything actually taste better than fresh raspberries?
Gotta remind myself: I'll feel good if I eat what I need. Not what I "want". What I REALLY wanna eat is what I need to eat. Really.
Gotta keep right on reminding myself of this. Every day.
The real treat is treating myself well.
Giving myself what I need. When I do that, consistently, and when I have a healthy, fit and slim body, there are so many other ways to have fun. Real fun.
Eating whatever I wanted whenever I wanted made me 230 pounds. And that was actually . . . no fun at all.
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